Skip to Content

Snacks for Labor | Mother Rising

Snacks for labor are as essential as the demands of labor and delivery are high. One way to stay strong is to eat and drink throughout the entire process. Even the American Society of Anesthesiologists agree!

“Without adequate nutrition, women’s bodies will begin to use fat as an energy source, increasing acidity of the blood in the mother and infant, potentially reducing uterine contractions and leading to longer labor and lower health scores in newborns. Additionally, the studies suggest that fasting can cause emotional stress, potentially moving blood away from the uterus and placenta, lengthening labor and contributing to distress of the fetus.”

In summary, fasting or not eating throughout labor weakens contractions, causing longer labors and distress to the baby. Don’t let hunger slow you down – try these scrumptious snacks for labor and delivery specially curated to support you through the challenges of childbirth.

colorful popsicles with a white background

Best Snacks for a Hospital Stay

Hospital provided snacks are pretty basic and consist of saltine and graham crackers, popsicles, milk, juice, and water. Depending on the hospital and what’s happening at the birth, hospitals will bring meals on a tray for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, relying on a hospital for sustenance is not the best of ideas – you never really know what you’ll get and if/when it will come.

Parents with a scheduled cesarean birth/c-section will be asked to fast/not eat a minimum of 12 hours prior to your surgery. Snacks brought to the hospital will be eaten after the birth, during the minimum 48 hour postpartum hospital stay.

Parents planning on an epidural will only be allowed clear fluids once the epidural is in place. Eating increases the chances of complications during a cesarean birth in the OR, which has a higher chance of happening with the use of an epidural. Examples of clear fluids are juice, broth, popsicles, sports drinks, coffee and tea without cream, tea, and Jello gelatin.

Parents planning an unmedicated childbirth should be encouraged to eat and drink freely through their entire birth experience.

Snacks to Pack in Hospital Bag

To get started, pack a hospital bag by 37 weeks (before labor begins) with healthy, non-perishable snacks for labor. The best snacks for a hospital bag give parents the energy boost they need for labor and after birth recovery. (Scroll down for perishable, healthy snack ideas to pack in a hospital bag when it’s the big day.)

  • Applesauce squeeze pouches
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Fruit leather
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Individual almond butter, peanut butter, or other nut butter packs
  • Pretzels
  • Honey sticks
  • Lollypops, mints, or other hard candies (natural sugars are best, of course, but sometimes labor calls for some good pick-me-up candy!)
  • Coconut water, or other electrolyte drink

Snacks for Labor on Amazon

Here are some snacks for your hospital bag to add to your next Amazon order, shipped to your home easy-peasy.

Honey Sticks
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Mini Altoids in a Cute Tin
Justin’s Peanut Butter Squeeze Packs
Haribo Gummy Bears
Kind Bars

Snacks for Dad

It’s important to consider the best labor snacks for dad or other birth partners when preparing for birth. Hospital cafeterias aren’t open 24-7 and may be far from where mom is laboring. Sometimes it’s not possible to leave the labor room when contractions are long, strong, and close together.

Vending machines are a helpful option when at a birth, so be sure to pack some money for that, but don’t rely on it either. Too much vending machine food makes a birth partner feel tired and sluggish.

The best snacks for a hospital stay with dad in mind are:

  • Travel toothbrush set (ok yes, this isn’t a snack, but please pack a toothbrush for dad. Bad breath after eating is NOT helpful when helping someone give birth.)
  • Granola bars or his favorite protein bars
  • Caffeinated beverages for those 2-5 am rough parts of birth
  • His favorite sandwiches or other high protein foods
  • Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, and citrus (preferably the easy-to-peel variety, like clementines)
  • Fresh vegetables like a salad, or cut up celery and carrots
  • Trail mix, nuts, and seeds
  • Soups, or other non-perishable microwavable foods for when he’ll have access to a microwave

Snacks for Labor

Snacks for Early Labor or Prodromal Labor

As soon as signs of labor begin a change in diet is not required. Hopefully you’re still at home, eating and drinking as you have been for the last few weeks nearing your due date. Prodromal labor can be tricky to navigate as it’s a lengthy ordeal. Prioritize rest, and make sure to stay hydrated and nourished with the best labor snacks!

Snacks for Active Labor

During active labor, continue to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and eat small healthy meals and snacks between contractions as needed.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that anything eaten during labor may be thrown up, as vomiting during labor is a thing. Notice how there’s nothing spicy anywhere on these lists. Spicy foods burn coming back up. Choose wisely.

Here are my best snack ideas for active labor:

  • Fresh fruit like bananas, apples, and oranges (a fruit salad would be delicious!)
  • Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes
  • Frozen grapes, because some people out there love these things
  • Melons like watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew
  • Fresh vegetables like baby carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks, and bell peppers
  • Dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, and apples
  • Freeze dried fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and apples
  • Breakfast bars, granola bars, and/or protein bars
  • Mother Rising’s energy balls are a great homemade snack for labor
  • Muffins (try these groaning muffins!)
  • Whole grain crackers – graham crackers, saltines, etc.
  • Oatmeal with cut up fruit, granola, and/or berries as a topping
  • Grits topped with butter or cheese
  • Toast with butter, jelly, and/or plain
  • Bagels with cream cheese, butter, and/or plain
  • Pretzels dipped in hummus
  • Pastas – spaghetti, elbows, bowtie, rotini, etc., plain, or with a sauce/butter
  • Plain vegetable, chicken, or beef broth
  • A basic soup like miso soup
  • Jell-O or other gelatinous snacks if you’re into them
  • Popsicles (hospitals typically have these in their freezers)

High Protein Snacks for Labor

  • Yummy salad with chicken breast, avocado, hard boiled eggs, and/or cherry tomatoes
  • Yogurt, or frozen yogurt tubes (Greek yogurt is higher in protein)
  • Cheese sticks or string cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs if still at home
  • Almond Butter packets or other nut butters in a convenient “to go” package
  • Sandwiches – meat and cheese, tunafish, or peanut butter and jelly
  • Cottage cheese
  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachios, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
  • Trail mix (the ones that come in individual pouches are handy)
  • Dairy based smoothie
  • Lentil soup
  • Rice and beans
  • Quinoa salad
  • Tofu, tempeh
  1. YumEarth Organic Fruit Flavored Pops, 50 Lollipops
    $14.38 ($0.29 / Count)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 10:25 pm GMT
  2. KIND Nut Bars Favorites Variety Count, 12 Count
    $15.50 ($1.29 / Count)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:20 am GMT
  3. Nature's Garden Healthy Trail Mix Snack Packs, 24 Individual Servings
    $21.89 ($0.76 / Ounce)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:25 am GMT
  4. Lotus Foods Ramen Noodles with Miso Soup, Pack of 10
    $12.34 ($0.44 / Ounce)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:15 am GMT
  5. Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Fruit Snack Pack, Pack of 16
    $18.28 ($2.16 / Count)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:16 am GMT
  6. Wonderful Pistachios No Shells, Pack of 9
    $7.48 ($1.11 / Ounce)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:25 am GMT

Snacks for Transition

During transition, most women aren’t eating meals, or really anything at all. Transition is the point in labor, right before pushing, where contractions are long, strong, and close together. It’s common to feel hot, then cold, then hot again, and then take off all your clothes. Feeling shaky, throwing up, and feeling like you can’t do this anymore is pretty normal. Transition is the point you have to work really, really hard. However, it’s still important to… hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Snacks for transition should be small, easy to digest things to give small boosts of energy.

  • Cut up cold fruit
  • Honey sticks or honey packets
  • Small bites of a granola bar
  • Sips of broth
  • Small bites of yogurt
  • Candy – lollipops, gummy bears, mints, life savers, etc.

Snacks for Pushing

Similarly to transition, during pushing women aren’t eating meals, anything heavy, or really nothing at all! However, it’s extremely important to continue to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Snacks for pushing would be similar to transition – small, sugary things for quick boosts of energy as needed.

Snacks for Immediate Postpartum

Immediate postpartum is the first few hours right after birth. Congratulations! You did it! To replenish the body start by drinking a small glass of orange juice or a similar juice and a high protein meal such as a cheeseburger, sushi, peanut butter and jelly, deli sandwich, omelet, or other breakfast sandwich. Really, the sky is the limit! Enjoy some good food. You earned it!

Labor Snacks to Avoid

Take note of the following labor snacks to avoid to minimize discomfort and increase energy levels and stamina throughout labor.

  • Avoid spicy foods in labor because if you throw it up, it will be spicy on the way back up, burning the throat and mouth. Not fun.
  • Avoid heavy, greasy foods in labor because they are difficult to digest, making the body feel sluggish and tired.
  • Avoid acidic foods, or anything that triggers heartburn, in labor to minimize acid reflux.
  • Avoid foods high in processed sugars in labor, like sodas and desserts, as they temporarily spike the blood sugar, but then leave parents feeling tired once blood sugar levels crash.

Drinks for Labor

Hydration is so important during pregnancy and childbirth! When planning ahead and thinking about snacks for labor, it’s important to also think about staying hydrated in labor. Here are some ideas for drinks for labor and delivery.

  • Water with or without ice cubes
  • Gatorade and other electrolyte drinks like coconut water
  • DIY electrolyte cubes
  • Vitamin water
  • Smart water
  • Juice boxes
  • Almond milk
  • Peppermint or red raspberry leaf tea
  • Smoothies
  1. vitaminwater xxx, 20 fl oz, 12 Pack
    $22.99 ($0.10 / Fl Oz)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:32 am GMT
  2. Honest Kids Appley Ever After, 6 Fl oz Juice Boxes, Pack Of 40
    $12.98 ($0.05 / Fl Oz)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:35 am GMT
  3. Traditional Medicinals Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea, 16 Tea Bags
    $4.92 ($5.79 / Ounce)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:32 am GMT
  4. smartwater, 1L, 6 Pack
    $11.18 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 07:20 am GMT
  5. Vita Coco Coconut Water
    $16.98 ($0.13 / Fl Oz)
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    03/13/2024 04:50 am GMT

Snacks for Labor

I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay hydrated and nourished during childbirth. Having good snacks for labor gives parents the energy for their bodies to sustain strong, productive contractions over a long period of time, but also to recover during their postpartum hospital stay. Pack a bag for labor with the best, most delicious snacks and enjoy!